Trigger warning: Alcoholism
I’ll never forget the day I hit rock bottom. March 3, 2009, the final day of a series of monumental snowstorms and the catalytic storm marking the beginning of my sobriety journey. It’s seared in my memory with a mixture of pain and promise, the day I finally came to the realization and admitted out loud that I was an alcoholic.
That weekend, I promised myself I wouldn’t drink, and like every other time, that promise went unfulfilled. The longing for the false comfort and temporary relief that the cheap wine brought my chaotic and dark mind was too strong to resist. When the alcohol entered my body, it was the beginning of a frenzy, like a horse off to the races.
One drink was too much, and 20 wasn’t enough. My inability to inhabit my own body was like claws going down a chalkboard. Every time I was forced to be present with myself, another painful scratch down the surface jolted me into anxiety and panic. I spent years attempting to escape life through my destructive behaviors, only to wake to the reality that I was still in my body.
That weekend also began with one of the first spiritual experiences I’ve had. I was getting ready to go out and was a bottle of wine in after telling myself I wasn’t going to drink. Suddenly, I was out of my body watching myself from above and witnessing the hold that alcohol had on me and the powerlessness that began when I started drinking. I wanted to stop but physically and mentally couldn’t. This out-of-body body experience didn’t last long because soon I blacked out, existing with no awareness, beginning to cause the wreckage of the next few days.
This was a repeated pattern that began many years ago. I spent my young adulthood trying to escape through alcohol, drugs, people, anything to get outside of myself. The constant longing for finding my truth in anything other than who I was. Because who I was was never enough. Once I allowed myself to get sober, I found out I had PTSD and generalized anxiety disorder from childhood traumas.
Up until that point through my entire life I’d always had an intense longing to be normal. It was like everyone around me had gotten the manual on how to live life and I had been left out when “they” were distributing them. We all have experiences that affect us. Experiences that alter the trajectory of our souls’ path and the connection to it. Mine being the abrupt divorce and departure of my abusive father at the age of six.
The weekend ended with me devouring every drop of alcohol in the house, spiraling into sleepless nights and panic attacks. On the morning of March 3rd, in a state of desperation, a small voice came through, saying, “I think you’re an alcoholic and you need help.” Of course I did. I had spent the last 10 years of my life self-medicating instead of facing the deep-seated emotional pain and trauma embedded in my soul and body.
I’ll never forget my first AA meeting, sitting in that chair in a cold room full of strangers, drinking coffee from styrofoam cups. There were so many different types of people that you’d never think you’d see together at the same time. There was the classic biker with sleeve tats, teenagers searching for meaning, professional women just getting off work, and everyone in between. As I sat with tears streaming down my face listening to everyone bravely and vulnerably share about their struggles, I felt relief that there were others who experienced what I had. I thought to myself, “I’m not alone. I’m not crazy!”
Since then, it’s been a journey of finding my way back to my soul, to my truth, to my home in my body. This journey has been both painful and healing, with a lot of divine surprises along the way. I like to call it “Soul Reclamation,” which is a never-ending lifelong journey of reconnecting with our soul’s truth and purpose.
The Soul Reclamation journey is a winding and beautiful process. Some parts are mired in overgrown terrain that needs tending, others are smooth with the path laid clear. It’s a synergy of body, mind, and spirit. Allowing ourselves to release control, trusting, surrendering into the path our soul is meant to fulfill in this lifetime. It’s a beautiful co-creative dance with the universe where we allow it to take the lead and we follow suit. Trusting that everything that is happening exactly as it should be.
It’s by no means the easiest journey, but I promise you it’s the most fulfilling and once you have a taste of the reconnection to your soul’s truth there’s no turning back.
Let your rock bottom be where the beauty begins.